Well, that was quick!
Last week we bravely walked into the blades of a loaded B-51 by stating that we anticipated the demise of ISIS within three years.
There was a good reason, we thought then, to say that. Jordan had just launched an offensive attack against ISIS in Syria, to be followed by more flights over Iraq.
Finally, someone besides the US of A was putting men, materiel, and machines into action. Better yet, flights from the U.A.E. were also launched, for the first time. Members of what had previously been a coalition of the willing (that never really had adherents and loyalties) had coalesced – however briefly – for a cause we favored. Life in the Mid-East was looking up.
What was hoped for in this corner was a growing coalition, one that might even include Egypt. Wonder of wonders, that happened, too.
Underneath our optimism was the real fear that ISIS could eventually evolve into the Democratic version of what happened in Benghazi. This, as you recall, was the Republican whipping boy for more months than we like to remember. “Benghazi” became the “So’s your old man!” of its time-frame. It never ended. Every time our nation wanted to move forward to attend to new problems facing it, Republicans shouted, “Yeah, what about Benghazi!”
By the end of that very day, the New York Times was trumpeting the duration of war with ISIS into two/three decades of agony, struggle, cruelty, pointless death.
Uh-oh. Maybe we over-shot our mark. Maybe we should recalculate.
Then again, no one in the West seemed terribly exercised over what was happening in the Crimea. It began to look as though we had decided to cede to Mr. Putin’s Russia the return of a centuries old province, as well was any other remainders of the last Czar’s empire…grabbed and gulped down after World War II by Mr. Stalin.
The war against ISIS had evolved into this century’s thirty years war, or even the next one hundred years’ war.
So last Friday we started enthusiastically to look at the Mid-East and by the end of the day, with more and more information emerging from the world’s capitals, we were unutterably depressed. And this very morning we hear that Turkey may soon become a player against ISIS.
Talk about riding an elevator.
In our own defense, however, we still worry about the intelligence Services not only in the US but in central European as well. ISIS after all has never been secret. Beginning in 2003 with the resolution to combat the Shia in Iraq, the Sunni Iraqis publically challenged the nation/state itself. In effect, ISIS announced itself over and over again, most recently in June of 2014. Yet Washington was still taken by surprise. Why?
Again, this morning we hear noises about forces from Kuwait gearing up. And tiny little hints that Saudi Arabia may be slewing around to the US position, whatever that is.
So what is Washington doing? Firstly it says it may not grant Egypt a deadly infusion of weaponry. Good going. Secondly, the powers that be in D.C. are spending days talking about strategy in the Middle-East. After how much time? (See “Please, Just One Time Plan Ahead.”)
On top of all this, John Boehner says with enthusiasm that if the funding for the office of Homeland Security runs out in a week, it’ the fault of the Democrats over-reach domestically . Progress all right.
So, while forty-five Iraqi are incinerated in a standing truck by a group of ISIS warriors with nothing else to do, we’re attending a planning meeting in the White House.
We don’t know now whether we’ve been slipped a mickey by Mr. Putin or by ISIS.
No matter what we decide to do, it’s probably going to be wrong.
What a wonderful feeling with which to face the violent, murderous, nonsensical horrifying future.